Libya to pay $300m in medical debts to Jordan

Image of destroyed buildings and vehicles as the violence continues in Libya [file photo]

Image of destroyed buildings and vehicles due to the ongoing violence in Libya

Libya has been told it owes Jordanian hospitals approximately $300 million in unpaid debts for treating its citizens.

During a visit by a Libyan delegation last week, the Jordan’s Private Hospitals Association informed the group of the debts which the delegation agreed to pay.

A committee tasked with settling the issue of the Libyan medical debts along with staff from the Libyan embassy in Amman met with representatives from the country’s hospitals and agreed to settle the bill, a statement said.

Read: Haftar’s forces claim victory in battles in east Libya

The debts are believed to have accumulated from 2011 when some 80,000 Libyans were treated in Jordan. In some cases, entire families travelled to Jordan staying in expensive hotels at Libya’s expense while only one member was treated for injuries not linked to the war.

Image of Libyan military chief Khalifa Haftar [hallaboutafrica/Twitter]

Image of Libyan military chief Khalifa Haftar

By September 2013, Libya owed private health care companies $80 million and the amount increased to $300 million when the Thinni government agreed to pay Jordanian as well as Tunisian healthcare debts but failed to do so since.

Libya’s willingness to address the debts now is reportedly thanks to Khalifa Hafter, according to Jordanian weekly Assabeel. The head of the Libya National Army ordered for the outstanding debts to Jordan to be paid.

(Source / 27.03.2017)

Jordan Executes 15 Terrorists


Amman – Jordan executed 15 people on Saturday morning, including 10 convicted on terrorism charges, according to government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani.

Momani told state media that those executed included those involved in the “Irbid terror cell”, and the terror attack against the General Intelligence Department office in Baqaa refugee camp.

Other crimes included the assassination of columnist Nahed Hattar, terror bomb attack on Jordan’s Embassy in Baghdad in 2003, and the terrorist attack against foreign tourists visiting the Roman amphitheater in Amman.

The men were hanged at Swaqa Prison.

Five of the criminals were involved in an assault by security forces on a militant hideout by suspected ISIS militants in Irbid city in the same year that led to the death of seven militants and one police officer in 2016. They were: Ashraf Beshtawi, Fadi Beshtawi, Imad Delki, Faraj al-Sharif, and Mohammed Delki.

Mahmoud Hussein Masharfa was the executor of the terrorist attack in June 2016 against the General Intelligence Department office in Baqaa refugee camp.

Riyad Ismail Abdullah was executed for assassinating Hattar in September 2016. While, Muammar al-Jaghbir was executed after his conviction in terror bomb attack on Jordan’s Embassy in Baghdad in 2003.

Nabil Ahmad al-Jaoura was convicted for the terrorist attack against foreign tourists visiting the Roman amphitheater in Amman which led to the death of a British tourist in 2006.

Momani added: “This is an attempt to bring justice to the victims of those terrorists who threatened our national security. Anyone who will dare engage in terrorist activities against Jordan will face the same destiny.”

Human rights group Amnesty International condemned the executions by hanging saying they were carried out in secrecy and without transparency.

Samah Hadid, deputy director at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, said, “The horrific scale and secrecy around these executions is shocking.”

Amnesty is against capital punishment regardless of the criminal, his crime or whether he was innocent or not, and the execution method.

Amnesty said in a statement earlier: “Jordan had for years been a leading example in a region where recourse to the death penalty is all too frequent.”

In December 2014, 11 men were executed after the capital punishment had been frozen in Jordan since March 2006.

In February 2015, Jordan executed Sajida Rishawi and Ziad al-Karboli. The two inmates were hanged a day after the release of a video showing the killing of Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh by ISIS.

Rishawi was convicted by the State Security Court in September 2006 of plotting terror attacks against three hotels in Amman in November 2005, which had left more than 60 people dead and around 90 injured.

Karboli was convicted of killing a Jordanian truck driver in Iraq in September 2005, possessing explosives as well as belonging to an illegal al-Qaeda-affiliated organization called Tawhid and Jihad.

Over 100 people, including around 10 women, are currently on death row in Jordan.

Jordan is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

(Source / 05.03.2017)

Jordanians call for overthrow of the government

Jordanian people stage a protest in front of Statehouse in Amman, Jordan [Anadolu]

Jordanian people stage a protest in front of Statehouse in Amman, Jordan

Jordanians took to the streets across the country yesterday in protest against price hikes and called for the government and the parliament to be ousted, the Safa news agency reported.

Protesters raised placards calling for ousting the government and the parliament due to the latest decisions which made the life “unbearable.”

One of the protesters in the city of Salt, west of Amman, said: “The new government policy of collecting fees for public services made life unbearable,” stressing that consecutive governments “did not learn lessons from each other.”

Read: Israel destroys UN-sponsored water pipeline in Jordan Valley

“During the popular movements of the Arab Spring, we warned against such policies, but the governments repeat each other’s mistakes… Our debts are big… and our life is difficult.”

Last week, Jordanians used social media to express their anger over the government’s decisions and called for boycotting certain public services in protest against the new wave of price hikes.

Read: A year ago, US, Israel, Jordan and Egypt secretly met for ‘peace’

On 9 February, the government approved a number of measures included tax increases and new taxes and fees as part of an economic plan aimed at meeting the conditions of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) grant which the kingdom hopes to attain.

The government also cancelled previous tax exemptions for some services.

(Source / 21.02.2017)

Jordanian Army blocks wounded Syrian rebels from entering country

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 A.M.) – The Jordanian Army has reportedly blocked wounded jihadist rebels from entering their country after the latter launched a massive offensive in Syria’s Dara’a Governorate.

Reports of jihadists being blocked by the Jordanian Army began to surface on Monday evening, when several activists claimed the border was closed following the rebel assault.

A Syrian officer from the 5th Armored Division told Al-Masdar on Tuesday morning that these reports are true, as the Jordanian Army has recently agreed with Russia to tighten their border-security.

Without access to Jordanian field hospitals from the Dara’a Governorate, the jihadist rebels will have no longer have the luxury of having their wounded militants treated in medical facilities outside the country.

(Source / 14.02.2017)

Jordan holds Israel responsible for any violation against Aqsa Mosque


The Jordanian government has strongly denounced its Israeli counterpart for persistently allowing Jewish settlers to desecrate the Aqsa Mosque’s Islamic sanctity every day and hurting the Muslim nation’s feelings.

“The Jordanian government holds the Israeli government, as the occupying power, responsible for any action happening against the holy Aqsa Mosque,” spokesman for the government Mohamed al-Momani stated on Thursday.

Momani emphasized that the occurrence of daily break-ins at the Aqsa Mosque by Israelis are illegal and hostile acts against an Islamic holy site and a disregard for the Muslims’ feelings.

He reiterated his government’s position on the need to protect the status quo at the Aqsa Mosque.

The spokesman affirmed that Jordan would continue to assume its role as the guardian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem and employ its diplomatic and legal options to protect them.

(Source / 30.12.2016)

Palestinians banned from 19 jobs in Jordan

Palestinian construction workers [File photo]

Palestinian construction workers [File photo]

The Jordanian Ministry of Labour has issued a decree to ban the expatriate workforce from 19 professions including teaching in both public and private sectors.

The new decision deprives hundreds of Palestinians who hold temporary Jordanian passports from their livelihood.

Jordan issued a decision in January that Palestinians with temporary passports wishing to work in its territory had to obtain work permits.

Shereen Odeh, a private school teacher, had to resign after working for ten years. She said the school had refused to grant her a work permit because education in private schools is unavailable to expats.

“Over the past ten years I have worked as a school teacher after obtaining security approval. Today, the situation has changed and they want me to obtain a work permit because I am not a Jordanian. But I did not get the permit. Therefore I lost my only source of income.”

(Source / 08.11.2016)

Egypt and Jordan launch joint war games

A member of the special operations forces takes part in the 2014 'Eager Lion' exercise in the Gulf of Aqaba, 330 km south of Amman, on June 5, 2014. (AFP/File)

A member of the special operations forces takes part in the 2014 ‘Eager Lion’ exercise in the Gulf of Aqaba, 330 km south of Amman, on June 5, 2014

Armies of Jordan and Egypt on Saturday started a military drill, dubbed “Aqaba 2016”, to boost operational preparedness, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The 20-day war games are aimed at boosting relations between the armies of both countries and training the troops to conduct joint plans involving various tasks and using available resources.

The participating units will also be trained to counter current security threats and possible future ones. 

The Aqaba 2016 drill,  during which troops from both countries will execute activities designed to deal with the current situation in the region, will take place in the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army’s (JAF) training fields, with the participation of various land, naval and air units.

The Egyptian troops were received by senior officers upon their arrival.  

The two countries held a similar drill last year, with the participation of elite military units from the two armies.

Jordan and Egypt have both been harmed by Sinai-based rebel groups, which have attacked a vital gas pipe more than a dozen times since 2011.

The sabotage eventually led to a complete halt of the cheaper Egyptian supplies of the commodity and a subsequent energy crisis in the Kingdom, caused by its dependence on the expensive fuel oil instead  to generate electricity.

(Source / 07.11.2016)

Saudi Medical Clinics Provide Treatment for 12,000 Syrians in Jordan


Saudi Clinics receive Syrian Refugees at Zaatari Camp in Jordan

Amman- Saudi specialist clinics treated around 12,796 Syrian patients in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan in October.

Medical Director of the Saudi specialist clinics Hamid Mufalani said that the clinics have witnessed a great number of patients, which was proven by medical statistics for the month of October.

Mufalani explained that 3,906 patients visited the children’s clinic, 317 patients visited the cardiovascular clinic, 704 patients visited women health clinic, 1,341 Syrian refugees received treatment in general medicine clinic while surgery clinic dealt with 176 cases and the bone clinic received 688 cases.

For his part, Regional Director of the Saudi National Campaign Dr. Badr bin Abdulrahman Al-Samhan said that the Saudi specialist clinics provide health care according to the medical and psychological needs of the Syrian refugees.

(Source / 05.11.2016)

Jordan activists condemn administrative detention of women under pretext of protection

Jordanian women shout slogans as they protest in Amman on January 25, 2014. (AFP/ Khalil Mazraawi)

Jordanian women shout slogans as they protest in Amman on January 25, 2014

Administrative detention of women under the pretext of protection against murder is “illegal” and forms a clear violation of equality principles, activists said on Tuesday.

Mizan Law Group Executive Director Eva Abu Halaweh said administrative governors violate the law when they detain women who are under the threat of murder by their families, those who are tortured at home or those who flee their homes.

Abu Halaweh explained that Article 3 of the Crime Prevention Law authorises administrative governors to practise administrative detention for periods that do not exceed a year against individuals who are found in public or private areas about to commit or assist in committing a crime, those with a record of theft or protecting thieves, and those found drunk in a case that could harm people.

Only in these three cases is administrative detention legal, and none of them includes women under the threat of murder, she explained, noting that when a woman’s life is threatened, the man who might commit the crime is the one who should be administratively detained.

Speaking at a workshop organised by Mizan and the Equal Rights Trust (ERT), Abu Halaweh noted that women in “protective custody” face social stigmatisation, although in many cases they escape domestic violence and rape, adding that the majority of them do not receive family visits.

Meanwhile, she expressed hope that the Constitutional Court would amend laws regulating the issue, as this type of detention violates articles 7 and 8 of the Constitution, which grant personal freedom and ban detention without violating the law.

Abu Halaweh cited figures from the National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) 2015 report showing that 19,860 men and women are in detention centres, while another NCHR study shows that almost half of detained women are administrative detainees.

Also speaking at the workshop, Col. Ahed Shraideh, the head of the development and training institute at the Public Security Department’s (PSD) Correctional and Rehabilitation Centres Administration, said there are some 13,000 detainees at the Kingdom’s 16 correctional and rehabilitation centres for men and women.

There are 450 women detainees in the women’s detention centre in Jweideh and the women’s department in Um Al Lulu Centre, including 140 administrative detainees, he said, explaining that the figure is made up of 73 non-Jordanian and 67 Jordanian women.

Shraideh noted that non-Jordanian administrative detainees are mostly guest workers, while the majority of Jordanian women are kept for their protection in the absence of a specialised alternative shelter.

“The PSD is a law enforcement authority… We support a legislative amendment that would create a safe environment for women,” he said.

Joanna Whiteman, ETR co-director, said the international law prohibits protective custody even if it is carried out theoretically to help women, adding that in many cases, administrative detention rises to the level of ill-treatment and is sometime considered a form of torture. 

Through administrative detention, the state locks away the problem so that it does not have to deal with it, rather than addressing the root causes of the issue and finding more effective measures to protect women under threat, such as relocation, according to Whiteman.

She added that the UN Special Rapporteur on torture’s report referred to protective custody in Jordan, stating that depriving innocent women and girls of their liberty for as long as 14 years can only be qualified as inhumane treatment and is highly discriminatory.  

Jerash Deputy Wafaa Bani Mustafa said issues of concern to women are usually not considered a priority for discussion in Parliament and for legislative amendment.

She cited “severe” challenges during the term of the 17th Parliament when amending laws that are unjust to women, adding that the demands of women parliamentarians were not fully met, such as efforts to repeal Article 308 of the Penal Code, which allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims, and granting civil rights to the children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians.

Bani Mustafa, who is also the president of the Coalition of Women MPs from Arab Countries for Combating Violence against Women, cited combined regional efforts to remove legal texts that allow rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims.

Firas Azar, the president of the Mizan Law Group, said the government should give priority to the implementation of Jordan’s commitment to international treaties that grant equal rights to men and women. 

The government coordinator on human rights, Basil Tarawneh, highlighted the authorities’ keenness on implementing the Comprehensive National Plan for Human Rights, adding that enhancing the conditions of women is an integral part of the plan.

He said the government will consider the recommendations of the workshop, urging civil society organisations to spread more awareness on the issue through official and private media outlets.

(Source / 02.11.2016)

Jordan at boiling point: Almost 60 Syrians denied access to medical aid at Jordanian border according to MSF

The photo shows Syrian refugees, stuck on the Jordanian- Syrian border, waiting to cross into Jordan, at the Hadalat border crossing on January 14, 2016. (AFP/File)

The photo shows Syrian refugees, stuck on the Jordanian- Syrian border, waiting to cross into Jordan, at the Hadalat border crossing on January 14, 2016

At least 59 war-wounded Syrians, including 11 children between the ages of 3 and 14, “have been denied medical evacuation into Jordan” over the past three months, international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Thursday.

In a statement, the MSF said six of these 59 Syrians have subsequently died. They “all required urgent medical evacuation” from Daraa in southern Syria to MSF’s emergency surgical project in Ramtha hospital in Jordan, “located less than 5km from the border”.

“With intense fighting continuing, MSF believes that the actual number of people in need of immediate medical evacuation is much higher,” the statement said.

Jordan declared the northern and northeastern border areas an off-limit military zone in June, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that targeted a military post serving refugees near the border, killing seven troops and injuring 13 others.

“The prolonged conflict in Syria has decimated the country’s healthcare system and forced many medical professionals to flee. Those hospitals in southern Syria that are still open have very limited capacity to respond to highly complex injuries, leaving wounded Syrians with no option but to seek medical care in the nearest safe destination — Jordan,” MSF said.

Prior to the closure of the Jordanian-Syrian border on June 21, war-wounded Syrians were being regularly evacuated from southern Syria into the Jordanian border town of Ramtha, 90km north of Amman.

MSF’s medical teams saw an average of 50-80 wounded per month in the emergency room of Ramtha hospital. Sixty per cent of MSF’s patients in Ramtha chose to return to Syria after being discharged, the organisation said in the statement.

MSF’s medical team in Ramtha continues to care for patients admitted before the border was sealed. Working with the Ministry of Health in Ramtha since September 2013, MSF has received 2,427 wounded in the emergency room and carried out more than 4,500 surgical interventions, including more than 800 major surgeries, according to the statement.

MSF said it is “deeply concerned about the continued denial of access to war-wounded and other gravely ill Syrians to Jordan for three consecutive months”, urging the government to resume medical evacuations for those in need.

(Source / 01.10.2016)